GitHub announced that they have completed the first part of their plan to build a software archive in permafrost. Despite delays caused by the corona crisis, the first boxes full of microfilm with code projects were stored in Spitsbergen.
Last year, the Microsoft subsidiary GitHub announced that all public open-source projects hosted by GitHub would be safely housed in a former coal mine in Svalbard. The “GitHub Archive Program” should ensure that the data are preserved for posterity. At the beginning of the year, the first projects were saved on a special data medium. For such archives, it is important that the data is not only stored securely for a long time but also that it can easily be used again later – even if it is in hundreds of years. Accordingly, GitHub decided to archive on microfilm.
Archiving started in Drammen, Norway
The storage has now been documented in the GitHub blog. The journey of the code archive started with partner Piqls in Drammen, Norway. Piqls brought the projects on microfilm, 186 film rolls came together. They were shipped to Oslo Airport and then loaded into the belly of the plane. Then the trip went via Svalbard to Svalbard, about 1000 kilometers north of the European mainland.
These special data carriers from Piqls are packed in steel containers and stored in a sealed chamber in the permafrost on Spitsbergen. Storage in the Arctic is just one of the pillars of archiving. GitHub also plans to accommodate different data formats in different locations. Details are not yet known. This is the only way to prevent knowledge that is usually stored on so-called volatile media such as hard drives, SSDs, or CDs from being lost.
The archives in Svalbard specialize in the long-term storage of secret data.
According to a report, the Vatican, among others, has stored documents there. The archive advertises that it can safely store data for the next 1000 years in the special chambers of the mine.
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